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Zack Hutchins
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May 18, 2009

Business Coalition supports an agenda for an affordable New York

The Business Council of New York State home page Unshackle Upstate National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)

Contacts:
Brian Sampson, Unshackle Upstate, 585.256.4606
Mike Elmendorf, NFIB, 518.434.1262
Gary Hughes, The Business Council of New York State, Inc., 518.465.7511

ALBANY, N.Y.—A coalition of business groups led by The Business Council of New York State, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and Unshackle Upstate today called on state lawmakers to enact an agenda for an affordable New York.

The agenda includes: Gov. David Paterson's proposed state spending cap. The cap should be enacted in statute and then put forward as a Constitutional amendment; the property tax cap and mandate relief proposals put forward by the Commission on Property Tax Relief; local government consolidation proposals consistent with the recommendations of the Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Tier V pension reform.

“All of these reforms would significantly reduce the cost of government in New York State and put us on a path to economic success,” said Kenneth Adams, president & CEO of The Business Council of New York State. “These reforms would make New York affordable and competitive.”

”New York has one of the nation's most oppressive tax burdens and the second highest cost of doing business in the country. That's hardly a blueprint for job creation and growth. Only by reducing the key underlying driver of those costs--a government our taxpayers, businesses and citizens can no longer afford--can we turn New York around. These common sense proposals, which have bipartisan support, would be a critical step in that direction, and we urge the Legislature to adopt them before the conclusion of this session,” said Mike Elmendorf, New York State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business.

“The long-term fiscal recovery of New York will be driven by two factors: private sector job growth and mandate relief for the state and its municipalities. The agenda we are supporting today will address the mandates that are literally crippling our taxpayers,” states Brian Sampson, Executive Director of Unshackle Upstate. “The Suozzi and Lundine studies, along with a new public employee retirement system, provide us with a framework for immediate and long term solutions to the unsustainably high property taxes paid by New Yorkers. The Legislature must act before the end of the session to implement the recommendations and save the future of our great state.”

State spending cap: The proposed spending cap would limit the growth in State Operating Funds to the average rate of inflation from the previous three calendar years. It is estimated that if the cap had been in place from FY 2002-03 to FY 2007-08 state spending would have been $17 billion less. The coalition supports the Governor's proposal for a statutory cap but believes the process should begin to make the cap a part of the State's Constitution.

Property tax cap: The Commission on Property Tax Relief made its final recommendations in December, the coalition supports implementation of these proposals. Most importantly, is a cap to limit the growth of school property taxes to 4 percent or 120 percent of the Consumer Price Index, whichever is less. The commission also has recommendations to reduce the burden of mandates on schools which should also be enacted.

Local government consolidation: There are currently more than 10,500 local government entities in New York. The Commission made numerous recommendations to enable local governments to save money by consolidating and sharing services. The Attorney General's plan would make government consolidation easier and give voters more of a voice in that decision. Both are designed to cut waste and reduce taxes.

Tier V pension reform: The Division of Budget estimates that this proposal would save nearly $50 billion over the next 30 years. It would have no impact on current public employees whose pensions are protected by the State Constitution.

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